CORNER BROOK Last weekend 20-year-old Brittany MacDonald completed a search for what she was calling Corner Brook’s Next Top Model.
This was actually the young photographer’s second running of the contest through the Facebook social networking site.
All people had to do was click on the ‘like’ option under pictures posted by contestants to cast a vote for their favourite.
There were 46 participants in the contest which was open to people between the ages of 12 and 24 and on Friday the participant with the most ‘likes’ was named the winner.
Shelby Parsons, a 14-year-old Grade 9 student from Templeton Academy, earned the top model title with 236 votes.
Parsons said someone else entered her in last year’s contest but when she saw it again this year she thought it would be fun to enter.
“I was actually surprised,” she said when she got the message Friday that she had won. “I didn’t think I was going to win it.”
On Saturday she participated in a photoshoot with MacDonald, the prize in the contest, in the area around the playground on St. Mark’s Avenue and G.C. Rowe Junior High.
“It was really special, it made me feel right happy,” she said of being a model for the day.
Parsons received a copy of all her pictures and they are also posted on the Corner Brook’s Next Top Model page and the Focus Pocus website, http://www.wix.com/focuspocus/focuspocus.
MacDonald has been taking pictures for about five years. She said what started out as “just fooling around” has “grew into something serious.”
The self-taught photographer now operates her own photography business, Focus Pocus Photography.
She said photography is a way to express yourself.
“You could show other people how you see the world.”
MacDonald is hoping to make photography her full-time career and is looking at going to a school in Ontario.
Meanwhile, her contest did draw a bit of attention from people thinking it was not such a good idea.
Paula Sheppard Thibeau, executive director of the Corner Brook Women’s Centre, said the contest was brought to her attention after it was over and she was concerned that winning the contest was based on popularity and beauty versus looking at a more well rounded personality.
“If this is done as a means of trying to boost young women’s and men’s self-esteem, this method could actually have the opposite effect.
“Because how would you feel if you were the person who didn’t get a vote.”
She said when someone can only look at a physical attribute that’s what they’re going to judge you on.
Sheppard Thibeau felt, as did some of the people she’s discussed it with, that it would have been better if the contest had been more “well rounded” with additional information on contestants interests and values.
MacDonald said it was her intention to promote self-esteem and self-image and not to make these girls and boys feel bad in any way.
She disagrees with Sheppard Thibeau on judging being limited to only one quality.
“I believe there where many qualities that the contestants had the opportunity to portray in their photos, particularly self-expression and creativity.”
Parsons also had an opinion on the contest affecting self-esteem.
“I don’t agree with her,” she said of Sheppard Thibeau’s comments, “Because, some of my friends entered also and they didn’t think they were going to get any votes at all, and when they did get votes it helped their self-esteem so much.
“There’s always going to be someone who thinks you’re beautiful.”